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Missouri Leases and Rental Agreements Laws

Overview of State Lease and Rental Agreement Laws

The relationship between landlord and tenant is governed primarily at the state level, where laws regulate limits on security deposits, what constitutes a valid lease agreement, prohibited forms of discrimination, and related terms. When the terms of a valid rental agreement are breached, then the aggrieved party may seek relief in civil court. Generally, these laws are meant to strike a delicate balance between the landlord and tenant.

Lease agreements vary from one lease to the next, outlining the terms of the occupancy (such as month-by-month), whether pets are permitted, and other rules and terms.

Missouri Lease and Rental Agreement Laws in General

In order to have a valid lease between the landlord and tenant for more than one month, both parties must agree to these terms in writing (and both must sign the contract). Otherwise, all tenancies are considered month-to-month. Also, Missouri limits security deposits to two months of rent -- so if your rent is $1,000 per month, your landlord can ask for up to $2,000 for the deposit. Additionally, the deposit must be returned within 30 days of the lease termination.

The same anti-discrimination policies found in federal law (religion, race, gender, etc.) apply to Missouri housing arrangements, but housing for older people is exempt. This is meant to accommodate those who choose group homes, retirement communities, or other types of housing that might appeal to older people.

The following chart lists the basic provisions of Missouri's lease and rental agreement laws. For more information, see FindLaw's Landlord Tenant Law section.

Code Section 213.040; 441.060; 535.300
Terms of Leases All tenancies not made in writing and signed by parties shall be held as month-to-month
Deposits Limit 2 months rent; interest on deposit not required; deposit must be must be returned within 30 days of termination
Discrimination No discrimination on basis of race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, ancestry, sex, handicap; housing for older persons exempted
Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act Adopted? No

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri landlord-tenant attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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